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Dassault on schedule with 6X business jet development

Dassault has reiterated that its new Falcon 6X business jet remains on track for service entry in 2022, while also advancing development work on its "future Falcon" programme.

Speaking in Paris on 28 February, chief executive Eric Trappier said the twin-engined 6X is "totally in-line with schedule", although he would not specify a date for first flight.

Parts for the initial prototype are already being made, and four Pratt & Whitney Canada PW812D engines are currently in test, with 120h accumulated on a Boeing 747 flying testbed.

Launched in 2018 following the cancellation of the ultra-wide-cabin 5X due to persistent problems with its Safran Silvercrest powerplants, the 6X is designed to take that concept forward, while increasing range to 5,500nm (10,200km).

Although the 6X has benefited from work performed for its axed predecessor, Trappier says Dassault is starting afresh in some areas.

"At the end of the story you are redesigning the aircraft, but the basic is the same as the 5X in terms of global architecture, so we could jump directly to the 6X with a good confidence to be able to develop it in five years," he says.

Last year Dassault and Safran agreed on compensation for the Silvercrest problems, with the French airframer booking a one-off payment of €241 million ($280 million) in its 2018 accounts. The final 10 orders for the 5X were also removed from the backlog.

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Dassault

Meanwhile, Dassault continues to study the market for its next Falcon business jet programme and will ramp up internal activities this year, says Trappier.

"It is already launched in a certain way: the studies, the design is already launched, what is not yet launched is what are we going to do facing the market – I didn't talk to the market yet. But behind that the work is done to start."

Trappier declines to elaborate on where the jet will be positioned, or when it will be officially launched, noting that "we are still in the phase where we can change the project", depending on performance, price or market evaluations.

Dassault may choose to take on Bombardier's Global 7500 in the ultra-long-range segment, but with Gulfstream also likely to launch a new aircraft in that space there may be little room for a third participant.

However, without confirming Dassault's interest in an ultra-long-range aircraft, Trappier says he believes multiple platforms can co-exist: "In some segments there are at least three [manufacturers], sometimes more," he says.

He points to the "success" of the 7X, despite facing competing products from both Bombardier and Gulfstream at launch.

Although Dassault continues to enhance its other in-production jets, including the Falcon 8X, 900LX and 2000LXS, he rules out any re-engining efforts, citing the difficulty of such modifications.

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